Jon attributes this as “A song I know from Fay who sings it with Damien Barber. I’ve been enjoying the version by the McPeake family too.”
It seems to be associated with the McPeakes for sure, although this is also known as P Stands For Paddy, T Stands For Thomas, etc and other things besides. It’s also one of those somewhat slippery songs whose verses are prone to wander in and out of others, which coupled with its wide spread makes it tricky to pin down. Thankfully Reinhard covers off several of the recordings at Mainly Norfolk and this Mudcat thread tries to get to grips with its origins. You’ll note some dissent as to the Irish root and an attempt to suggest symbolism that doesn’t really stand up to examination. Irish certainly seems likely given both the Skreen location, with the McPeake lineage also looking sound. I am curious as to what the robbing of a birds nest has to do with anything though, unless simply as a feat of derring-do that proves devotion. Any thoughts? While we’re at it, there seems to me to be a strange voyeuristic element that makes you wonder whether the narrator is simply unnoticed by the young couple, or is something slightly more sinister happening. Perhaps I’m being a bit too literal and all that recent gadding off to the woods has got to me.